Physician advice and restrictions to patients following a cardiac event can, in some instances, lead patients to be fearful regarding their activities even to the point of inactivity. The purpose of this study was to test whether lawn mowing, one of the activities most strongly discouraged after coronary artery bypass surgery, could be safely performed in a supervised setting.
Subjects participated in a 6-session simulated lawn-mowing protocol, calibrated to match the push and pull forces of using an outdoor nonpropelled lawn mower. Plain chest radiographs were taken before and after the protocol period. During each session, subjects' sternums were carefully palpated and electrocardiograms, heart rates, and blood pressures were monitored.
None of the 13 subjects experienced adverse arrhythmia events or detrimental heart rate, blood pressure, or sternal palpation findings that led to study discontinuation. The radiographs taken after protocol completion showed stable sternal wires with no evidence of sternal dehiscence.
Simulated lawn mowing did not negatively affect the sternal incision, electrocardiogram findings, blood pressure, or heart rate in this small sample.